07 November 2005

Legislative first extraordinary session action for Nov. 7

For this short session, bills get filed quickly …

THE GOOD: Peppi Bruneau’s HB 51 does the same thing only better than does HB 9, as it extends reporting requirements to transactions involving family members of officials and lowers the threshold to five percent. Any of HB 49, HB 50, or HB 53 will not allow for receipts of disaster aid from the federal government to increase state income tax liability. HB 76 by Gil Pinac provides the infrastructure for the state to create a uniform building code, cited as a key measure to obligate the building of new structures much more resistant to natural disasters.

THE BAD: Jalila Jefferson-Bullock seems to be obsessed with cornering the market on bad bills. Her HB 57 has some laudable housekeeping points regarding voter registration and voting, but it contains some of the same bad provisions of SB 6 that encourage fraud. Her HB 58 goes even further, allowing people who never really intend to return to the state or may intend to but never will, or who will vote in multiple states, to vote easily in Louisiana and affects its elections. Her HB 59 permits any nonprofit that claims it deals with displaced people to call them displaced and make them eligible for the loose security for voting replicated from SB 6 – again, a wide-open invitation for fraud. Joining her is Cedric Richmond’s HB 100 which mimics the bad parts of SB 6, with the major difference being that these bills ask for a minimum one year (to affect the 2006 elections), extendable by the governor at her discretion, and SB 6 extends it for a fixed period ending at the end of 2008.

THE UGLY: Jefferson-Bullock continues to ride low with HB 75, which essentially says banks can make loans to entities in poorer areas affected by the hurricanes, as long as these loans put no more than 10 percent of their capital on the line. Since when does the Legislature have to tell banks how to go about making money by stating the obvious and trying to regulate it?

… and also considered quickly:

MONDAY: HB 76 is scheduled to be heard by the House Commerce Committee.

The good old boy Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee used the opportunity presented by Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot’s testimony about financing to try to score political points. Rep. Francis Thompson complained that while the rest of the country accused Louisiana of squandering money the Federal Emergency Management Agency was allowing corruption to occur in the use of its money. Rep. Charlie DeWitt accused the federal government of conducting a vendetta against the state, treating Louisiana differentially from others. They need to remember that if you, as they and their ilk have for decades, call the tune …

We’ll give them those refrigerators left out.”
Theriot, when Rep. Hoppy Hopkins noted that if the state couldn’t pay back monies owed to FEMA that it would repossess New Orleans, referring to gutted appliances lining the streets of New Orleans.

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